Intern Like A “Pro”

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Continuing on from last weeks post about finding the right internship, the ins and outs to selecting and landing an internship are fairly simple. You pick something of interest, apply, interview and whaa-laaa… The tricky part to continuing that winning streak is ensuring you make the most of your internship. 

What’s your agenda?
Take a moment to ask yourself a few simple questions… Do you want to stay long term? Do you want to get good references? Or, do you want to use this internship as a stepping stone into something bigger and better? Whatever it may be, you have your own reasons for interning with the company you’re currently at. So, let’s focus on how to keep that momentum going.

Getting started…
It may be your first day today, tomorrow or even a week from now. Regardless, your behavior will determine your overall outcome with the people you will be working with for over the next few weeks or even months. Below are a few tips to follow:

#1: Dress For Success.  Dressing casual at work may be a perk for many employees, but appearances go a long way. If you show up looking like you just rolled out of bed or didn’t have time to brush your hair, you won’t be taken seriously. Regardless of the environment you are in, be sure to look clean and tidy at the very least.

# 2: Show up early &/or on time.  Above all else, being prompt is important to any employer. Not only is it courteous, but it show’s you have respect for the person who’s hired you and who will train you. By showing up on time or earlier than expected, your employer will know that you take the job seriously. 

Be A Pro…
Maintaining appearances isn’t always easy. Some days you’ll get stuck in traffic or sleep through your alarm and other days you may screw up on a work assignment. You’re human; errors and set backs are bound to happen. Don’t fret about the should haves or could haves. Instead, focus on setting yourself straight and staying on track. To do that you can:

# 3: Get Involved.  Even if your skill set may be lacking on a professional stand point, that doesn’t mean that you can’t raise your hand to get involved or participate in company projects. After all, the whole purpose of the internship is for you to learn and improve your skills, not hide behind a computer monitor. 

# 4: Place The Company On Your Radar.  Use your social media skills and start keeping tabs on the company you’re interning with. If you haven’t already, follow them on Facebook, twitter & set your emails up for alerts. Having the company on your radar will give you an idea of what’s going on with them publicly, as well as help set the stage for any conversations you may want to participate in with your colleagues. 

Moving On…
If your internship is coming to an end, prepare for your departure by documenting the assignments and tasks you were responsible for with your manager. Having these on hand will help you with your resume for future intern programs or full time employment. You can also prepare by wrapping up your internship with:

# 5: Expressing Appreciation. Be sure to thank your colleagues and any upper management figures you worked with in person. Letting them know that you valued the time and energy they put towards teaching you will be appreciated. It’s also a great way to reinforce your professional relationships. 

# 6: Staying In Touch. Connect with your managers and colleagues online through LinkedIn or simply shoot them an email every once in a while to inquire about how their work activities are coming along. Staying in touch can come in handy for when you need references or recommendations for jobs in the future. 

When push comes to shove, you’re going to learn the ins and outs of the “workplace” through experience. No one gets it right the first day and even long term employees are bound to feel “new” when facing an obstacle. Pace yourself, take on what you can handle, acknowledge your mistakes and reward your accomplishments. Life is too short to constantly worry about the impractical “what if” scenarios. 

As a Dorm Room Movers author, good luck to you on your internship. If you like what you’ve read so far, stay in touch or leave a comment. 

Peace,

Miki

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